SP303 vinyl sim emulation on OP-1!

Hey folks.

I’ve always been a fan of producers J-Dilla and Madlib. They along with other artists are notable users of the Boss SP-303. Much of the character of their sound comes from the “vinyl sim” compressor effect found on the SP-303. It gives the sonic characteristics of a tight, squashed, lo-fi sound, with drums typically causing the beat to “duck” in and out due to the algorithms of the compressor. I’ve been twiddling around with the OP-1 for a bit to see if there is anyway to emulate the qualities of SP-303’s vinyl sim. I believe I’ve found a close solution. I basically set the drive to max, enable “punch” as a master effect (99 power, 0 punch, 5 rounds), and tweak levels as needed. Of course, these parameters can be changed to taste, but I find these settings to be ideal for most situations.

I’m a huge fan of the lo-fi hip hop scene, so I’m sharing this with other users who may be seeking a similar sound for their own music production.

Below is a track which I produced quickly just to demonstrate the sound which was achieved after experimenting. It’s nothing complex, but I believe it demonstrates a sound very close to what can be achieved with an SP-303! Let me know what you guys think.




Thank’s for the tip! I tried it out and dang the tones gets crunchy and beautifully distorted - Nice!!!

No problem. Also forgot to mention a couple things, mainly for those who aren't too familiar with how compressors work. In the track above I had the main sample just barely hitting over the limiter. Being that the drive was maxed out, I set the level of that track relatively low (around 30 or so, but depends on the sample/instrument) so that it didn't sound overly distorted. Afterwards laid down drums, and adjusted the level so the drums would hit well over the limiter threshold. Doing this while setting the release on the drive to 25, I was able to give the track that subtle pumping, side chain effect because of the compressors somewhat short release time.

On top of that, if you export your track out to finish it in a DAW, be sure to throw a multiband compressor on it. Really cleans up the track without taking away the grit and rawness.


Great tip! I got the best result with a release of around 25 on the master to. On my drum kit I lost a bit to much high end with the punch master FX at 99% so I turned it down to 60% or something like that. The main driver for the ‘sound’ is of course the master drive/release though.

When you har exporting your songs to DAW, do you record into your audio interface or you prefer to first record to album?

Yup sounds about right. I actually like the damper sound so my punch always stays at max powah, lol. When I export into Ableton, I just drag the whole “album” file from the OP and then drop it in there. Never tried recording through my audio interface, heard that it can get noisy that way

Great ideas. Have added them to the OP-1 Tips and Tricks thread for posterity!

Ok, sweet! Max powah is nice to :wink: I’m running the OP-1 into my Apogee Duet/Logic, works fine with low/zero noise.

Wow just tried this! For reference, what would you say are the ideal settings for “freq” on punch, and how about the EQ page of the mixer?

I usually keep the freq for punch at full. Of course if you wanted to cut some of the highs you could adjust it. I usually tweak the “rounds” settings to taste as i find that it kinda “crunches” the sound more while modestly removing some of the highs, which sounds more akin to how the sp303 processes sound. Unfortunately I’m not sure exactly how the Punch settings affect the sound in a traditional sense. Which isn’t a big deal imo cause like most of the OP-1’s parameters it forces you to go by ear and trial and error. I don’t mess with master eq settings at all really

Thanks for the reply!! Will try it out, was kinda struggling with it as it muffled sound to much, i think i will leave the eq at default, definitely want more crunch so i will play around with the rounds setting :slight_smile:

Yo yo I wanna add one or two things: I’ve been using the sp’s two in a row with compressor on the first one, playing all my samples, and vinyl sim on the second one smoothing everything out and wobbling the track.
I recreated this basically entirely on the op yesterday by putting my sample loop (some tune from the radio) into the drum sampler, and using the envelope in the drum sampler I made the sample become really ducky and bouncy , I added an lfo just slowly waving the pitch, and then turned the whole output down and drive up and messing with compressor etc as per j2dag’s tip - felt like real lofi shit .

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I know this is an old thread but I couldn’t get this to really work consistently. It sort of worked on one track. Does anyone know whether the level on the each tape track matters. As in they need to be quite loud for the punchy effect to be noticeable?

Hey man, I just got another OP-1 after around a year of not having one, so I haven’t had enough time to successfully recreate this on the OP-1 specifically. So take my advice with a grain of salt, but I use a very similar method to this on my SP404 and SP555. And for me its all in the levels when your sidechaining thru a single source.

As far as the levels go on my beats:
I will have the kick playing the loudest, on my SP404 I put it at max volume (so like 99 on the OP-1) The kick has to be significantly louder then the other elements of the track to make the entire track duck out. Also having a kick with good sub bass if really important as well. Something about those lower frequencies really helps get the song to pump.

Then I will have the snare the second loudest, Loud enough to where its punching through but a little bit quieter then the kick.

Third is the main sample/melody, which will be significantly lower then the kick and snare, BUT once all of your elements are laid down feel free to solo the sample/melody and kick and play with the sample volume to find the right volume setting for maximum Ducking. Too loud or too quiet and it wont duck when the kick hits.

Fourth is hi hats/percs, This is more so just my preference but I usually will have the hi hats a little quieter then the main sample/melody but loud enough to where their still good in the mix,

Lastly for me is bass, I usually have the bass around the hi hats/Sample’s loudness, but once again this is mostly just preference.

On my SP the volume range goes from 0 (quietest) to 127 (Loudest) Here are the estimated levels I set for my tracks

Kick (115-127)
Snare (75-90)
Hi hats (40-65)
Sample/Melody (40-65)
Bass (40-65)

I hope this helps you out a little man, peace :v:t3:


Also this is just speculation but maybe when your setting the drive and release on the OP-1’s mixer page try messing with the Master out’s L/R outputs, If you hold shift and then turn the blue or green encoder it will turn them both down at once. Maybe turning the output down a little and then turning the drive all the way up may help to really glue everything together without distorting your kicks

Thanks for the detailed reply man. I’ve been using the Tremolo LFO hack to achieve a sort of pumping effect but will retry this with the tips you’ve given.

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